Beauty Research 2022
28 Jan 2022

How has the pandemic impacted the way Americans purchase beauty products? In Provoke Insights’ third wave of in-house trends research, we set out to track habits, trends, and consumer attitudes in 15 different industries, including the beauty brand space.

Beauty Brand Purchasing is Showing Signs of Growth

The pandemic lifestyle of staying home and masking up left many Americans with fewer opportunities to “beautify.” However, the number of beauty purchasers has actually ticked up 3% since January 2021. Despite this growth, makeup-wearing among women has significantly decreased from the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. As face masks, remote work, and virtual classes continue to remain fixtures of pandemic life, American women are turning away from products like makeup.

Who Are Beauty Brand Purchasers?

These beauty buyers are Millennial Moms who enjoy the experience of perusing beauty aisles. These beauty brand purchasers tend to take more time with their purchase (51%) versus the general population (38%). 

Store Availability is a Barrier

Beauty buyers agree – 56% are struggling to find their favorite products in stores compared to pre-pandemic times. Evidently, this cohort prefers to shop online (30%) rather than in-person. 

 Download the full report for free here.

Methodology

Provoke Insights conducted a 15-minute online survey in autumn of 2021 among 1,504 Americans between the ages of 21 and 65. Provoke Insights uses a random stratified sample methodology to ensure a high degree of representation among the U.S. population. (This includes household income, age, gender, geography, ethnicity, and children living in the household.) Statistical differences between subgroups were tested at a 95% confidence level. The margin of error is +/-2.5%. 

The Pros & Cons of Media Research
26 Jan 2022

Consumers have unlimited access to all types of entertainment, so it’s no surprise advertisers and media publishers need help keeping a pulse on what, when, and how their target audience consumes content. Media research can help identify important trends. However, it can be tricky to know where to start with the number of content choices and media behaviors available to consumers. 

Below are areas to explore through media research as well as the highlights and hiccups your brand might expect along the way:

Smartphones, Social & Streaming – Oh My!

We all know cords have been cut, shaved, and cobbled – so where are the consumers now if they aren’t in front of their TVs? Are they binging the buzz-worthy shows, thumbing through videos of their favorite TikTok creators – or doing both at the same time? 

Pro: The abundance of choice can be great for the consumer but makes it almost impossible for a media brand or advertiser to stand out. Media research helps identify audiences’ current interests and attention spans. This gives content and brands the best chances of being noticed.

Con: Media today is like the wild west. There is just too much media to take any real inventory of the endless possibilities a consumer can access in a typical day. It is important to manage expectations that media research trends will emerge at a very high level in terms of behavior and attitudes. Additionally, tastes and preferences are constantly changing so this type of research should be done frequently. Brands should gear up to commission multiple waves of media research in order to keep their finger on the pulse.

Attention Economy

Ratings used to be the standard. However, in today’s media landscape, thumbs are just as important as eyeballs. How can your brand accurately determine what moves the needle for your target audience? And, how do you engage them?

Pro: Consumers are interacting with brands through creative partnerships with influencers and shoppable ads on social media. In fact, throughout the pandemic, many consumers rely on advertising to learn about new brands and services to help them adapt to their new way of life. Media research can help determine how your brand can think outside the box. Meet the consumer where they are by going beyond the traditional 15-second commercial.

Con: Consumers are constantly bombarded with messaging and have figured out ways to skip ads or pay to avoid them altogether. Their attention or preference can change by category or even device. While research can be the sobering voice in the room, it should be carefully designed to give you actionable insights to break through the clutter – even with the hardest audiences to reach. 

Combat Cancel Culture

2020 “woke” us up, and brands especially need to proceed with caution. While consumers expect brands to take a stand, the pressure is on. You won’t get a second chance if you get it wrong. 

Pro: Ad and message testing are critical in today’s climate and should be on your research roadmap before any launch. Consumers won’t only cancel your brand for just a misstep. They will sniff you out for inauthenticity as well. Research can help you decide which causes best align with your brand. This will help brands avoid checking boxes for the sake of checking boxes.

Con: Cancel culture moves at lightning speed. In as little as five minutes, a brand, public figure, or current event can become instantly controversial. While media research is a powerful tool for keeping your ear to the ground, cancel culture works faster. Furthermore, consumers expect their favorite brands to represent their own values. If your brand speaks out against a particular issue, you are at risk for polarizing a chunk of your audience in exchange to appease another. 

Is custom research on your roadmap for your brand? Check out Provoke Insights’ research services here or reach out to one of our subject matter experts to learn how we can help you tackle your research objectives.  

Want to read more from Provoke Insights? Find more blog posts linked below:

  1. Sustainability Marketing: Adapting to the New Consumer Mindset
  2. Don’t Let Your Marketing Dollars Go to Waste
  3. 2020 Trends: Advertising & Marketing Industry
Are you interested in our market research capabilities? 
Produce Research 2022
21 Jan 2022

Grocery shopping…everybody does it! It’s no secret that 99% of adult Americans consider themselves a primary or shared grocery shopper. But how has the pandemic impacted the way Americans purchase food? In Provoke Insights’ third wave of in-house research, we set out to track habits, trends, and consumer attitudes in 15 different industries, including produce brands.

Freshness is Key

When it comes to produce, these shoppers are looking first and foremost for freshness. Half of Americans are perusing produce sections at least every few days. These frequent shoppers are more likely to be Millennial working moms and dads. For 64% of them, freshness is worth a pretty penny! Only 15% of shoppers make a decision based on the cheapest price. 

Produce Brands are Largely Irrelevant

Overall, though it can seem like we are always buying fruits and vegetables, almost half of shoppers cannot name a brand. Produce brand unaided awareness is low, though Dole is overwhelmingly the top-of-mind brand (30%).

Recommendations

When it comes to marketing strategies, produce brands should highlight the ripeness of their products in order to capture customers’ attention. For more, head to Provoke Insights’ feature in Produce Business (page 14)

Download the full report for free here.

Methodology

Provoke Insights conducted a 15-minute online survey in autumn of 2021 among 1,504 Americans between the ages of 21 and 65. Provoke Insights uses a random stratified sample methodology to ensure a high degree of representation among the U.S. population. (This includes household income, age, gender, geography, ethnicity, and children living in the household.) Statistical differences between subgroups were tested at a 95% confidence level. The margin of error is +/-2.5%.

Streaming Research 2022
19 Jan 2022

In fall 2021, Provoke Insights launched a new wave of its bi-annual study to help brands understand consumer purchasing habits and trends that impact their industry. The goal of this research was to gain a national perspective on the mindset of consumers. In total, 15 separate industry reports were released. Here are some insights from our research on streaming.

Most consumers subscribe to multiple platforms

Americans are not only watching TV via streaming platforms, but in many cases have purchased more than one streaming service. Parents are more likely to subscribe to multiple services. Not surprising, as they are looking to keep their children entertained. 

Consumers continue to increase their subscriptions

No wonder there are so many new streaming platforms coming to the market! Just in the last year, over a third of Americans have increased the number of platforms they subscribe to. 2022 looks like a profitable year for streaming platforms as well. Growth will increase, but not as rapidly as in 2021.

Library Size is Key

Ever find yourself scrolling through endless content? You’re not alone – content library size followed by availability of original programming, are the critical features consumers look for when considering a platform.

COVID-19 Concern drives subscriptions

 Looks like those who are limiting social gatherings are curling up with their favorite shows for entertainment! People who are concerned about their health due to COVID-19 are likely to have more subscriptions to streaming services now than they did a year ago. Similarly, those who worry about their children’s health say they will increase the number of subscriptions they have in the future.

Download the full report for free here.

Methodology

Provoke Insights conducted a 15-minute online survey in September 2021 among 1,504 Americans between the ages of 21 and 65. A random stratified sample methodology was used to ensure a high degree of representation among the U.S. population (household income, age, gender, geography, ethnicity, and children living in the household). Statistical differences between subgroups were tested at a 95% confidence level. The margin of error is +/-2.5%. 

To see the full report or to check out our other industry reports, visit our Fall 2021 Trends page.

The Pros and Cons of Ad Testing Research
14 Jan 2022

Brands invest millions and millions of dollars into advertising and media spend each year. However, it is hard to tell which creative will generate the best ROI. Brands should not treat advertising like throwing darts at a dart board in hopes of getting a bullseye. Often, companies may be too close to their advertising and unknowingly offend its potential customer. 

Conducting research before launching campaigns is an important step in assuring your ads are well received by consumers. However, running such research improperly can lead to unreliable results and wasted cash. Here are some Pros and Cons to consider before conducting ad testing research.

The Pros of Ad Testing

Know your Audience’s Preferences

Can’t decide which of your creatives will resonate most with your target consumers? Turn to market research! Conducting an ad testing survey allows a brand to show participants multiple creative concepts. Not only can respondents provide feedback on each asset, but they can also rank the creatives to show which ones they prefer. These surveys are an essential way to help companies narrow down their options based on what their audiences would like best.

Avoid Missteps in Taste

Your spouse and kids may find you hysterical, but does the general public think you are funny? It can be difficult to gauge how consumers will react to certain aspects of an ad, whether it be jokes, emotional tugs, or stances on worldly issues. The last thing a brand wants to face is backlash towards a tasteless advertisement (think: controversial superbowl commercials). Conducting ad testing research before launching a campaign can help weed out these issues before an advertisement goes live, thus preventing such backlash from starting up.

Beat the Norms

Whether it is your company’s personal norm or compared against your industry, you have the ability to determine if the advertising beats your standards. Adding benchmarking questions to an ad testing survey can allow a brand to determine how a creative stands up against others. A company can measure how unique or innovative an ad concept is, or whether it drives a viewer to learn more about the promoted product. When using normative research questions in a survey, it is important to remember that the wording of questions must exactly match the format of previous research.

The Cons of Ad Testing

You Can’t Please Everyone

When conducting an ad testing survey, your brand is bound to come across various preferences and opinions from respondents. Brands can be tempted to adjust creatives to appeal to each of these different groups of people. Trying to make an ad that will appeal to the entire population can result in bland, generic, advertising. It is better to analyze the data carefully and adjust creatives to appeal to the groups most likely to purchase the product. Remember that polarizing ads can be good and make your creative memorable.

Research Takes Time 

Time is money. Ad campaign development is likely to have short timelines and tight deadlines. With such a rush, it can be difficult to find the time to dedicate to research. However, if a company includes research as a consideration when making these timelines, they will be able to reap the benefits of launching more targeted and effective campaigns.

Interested in reading more on market research? Check out our other blogs here. 
Are you interested in our market research capabilities? 
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How to Launch a Brand: Food Category Market Research
12 Jan 2022

Marketing Problem

A new food technology brand planned to enter the United States market with an innovative way of delivering cost-effective, tasty, and vegetarian-friendly consumables. Before launching the product, the brand wanted to understand the core target audience, generate excitement, develop a unique selling proposition, and refine a go-to-market strategy. The company commissioned Provoke Insights to develop a two-phase qualitative and quantitative research study.

Market Research Solution

Provoke Insights first conducted online focus groups to provide a deep dive into three core audiences, each with different eating habits. The goal of this qualitative research was to bring the target audience to life by developing brainstorming that revealed their wants, needs, and attitudes surrounding the brand.

Using the insights from Phase one as a guide, Provoke Insights conducted an online survey that included the following:

  • A segmentation categorizes consumers into distinct groups moving beyond basic demographics and behavioral characteristics. Using advanced analytics, this research method efficiently targets

consumers who have a higher propensity to purchase this food technology.  The process will provide the company with the size of each segment and potential acquisition numbers.

  • A MaxDiff to determine which brand attributes would most convince the target audience to purchase the new food technology.

Food Brand Research Results

The in-depth findings helped determine the following:

  • Bring to life the different segments. Split the audience into multiple areas to determine which audiences had the highest propensity to purchase. As a result, those interested in the brand were skewed towards certain demographics (e.g., age, ethnicity), behaviors/attitudes, and geographic regions. It allowed the company to easily find and communicate to the appropriate audience. 
  • Feature preferences. Using the MaxDiff technique, Provoke Insights found the most convincing features among the overall audience, in addition to those who were likely to try the product.
  • Market perspective & size projection. Now, the brand knows how many consumers in the United States are likely to try the brand. Provoke Insights provides detailed profiles of the followers of different dietary habits.
  • Name & branding recommendations. The insights gained from the research narrowed down terminology for the new food technology, in addition to providing the basis for brand strategy recommendations.
Interested in reading more on our past projects? Check out our other case studies here. 
Interested in our market research capabilities? 
  • Take a look at our research strategies here.
  • Email us at info@provokeinsights.com.
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Employee Research 2022
11 Jan 2022

While many companies re-opened their office doors back in September, new Covid variants like Omicron and Flurona have employees working remotely again. It is a welcomed pivot to some, as according to Provoke Insights’ third wave of in-house trends employee research, nearly half of Americans prefer to work at home. In this research, we set out to track habits, trends, and consumer attitudes in 15 different industries, including uncovering how the pandemic has impacted America’s workforce. 

Employees Prefer A Balance

Before the pandemic, two-thirds (68%) of employees went to the office daily. This model is trending downward, with only half of Americans working in an office setting full-time in 2021. However, some Americans prefer a change of scenery throughout the week as the Hybrid work model continues to climb, and exclusively working from home dips. While Americans can appreciate the comforts and conveniences of working from home, they may be missing a part of corporate culture they can’t get from their couch.

Less Pressure Means More Productivity

Three-fifths (59%) of employees report they are just as productive working at home as they were in an office. Not surprisingly, this is especially true among Generation X. This generation has felt the burnout more than most from pre-pandemic years of commuting and managing a work/life balance. Interestingly, only a third of those exclusively working at home believe they could be more productive in an office setting. 

Corporate Perks Are Not Persuasive

As we enter our third year of Covid, two-fifths (42%) of Americans say they are satisfied with working from home. Large company perks like free snacks, happy hours, and ping pong tables won’t necessarily lure employees back either. Those at companies with 5,000+ employees especially prefer to work remotely. This is also true of employees in the South. Who can blame them when venturing outside doesn’t involve bundling up in heavy jackets! 

For more information on this topic and other consumer categories, head here for all of Provoke Insights’ free, downloadable mini-reports.

Download the full report for free here.

Methodology

Provoke Insights conducted a 15-minute online survey in autumn of 2021 among 1,504 Americans between the ages of 21 and 65. Provoke Insights uses a random stratified sample methodology to ensure a high degree of representation among the U.S. population. (This includes household income, age, gender, geography, ethnicity, and children living in the household.) Statistical differences between subgroups were tested at a 95% confidence level. The margin of error is +/-2.5%. 

The Pros & Cons of B2B Market Research
07 Jan 2022

Business-to-business (B2B) branding is more complex as communication is more technical, audiences are more difficult to reach, and the sales cycles are longer. Commissioning market research to better understand B2B targets, clients, and audiences can reveal intriguing insights for thought-leadership, brand awareness, and more. While market research can arm B2B brands with valuable assets, if not done right, they may encounter a few bumps in the road. Here are the pros and cons to consider if your B2B brand is considering commissioning research.

The Pros of B2B Research

Branding is Crucial for These Sales-Driven Firms

Compared to B2C firms, the B2B landscape is much more sales-driven. The power of brand equity, brand health, and brand awareness is extremely valuable, but often underrated. Market research that measures B2B brand health can result in traditional tangible ROI (e.g., boosted SEO, better customer satisfaction, and increased sales). It can also separate a company from the competition as it delivers unconventional insights that contribute to a better understanding of brand equity. 

B2B clients tend to look for functional brand attributes when selecting a firm, as opposed to emotional branding which appeals to the general B2C consumer. When embarking on this type of market research, B2B brands need to develop a questionnaire that fits this type of shopping journey versus the standard consumer survey. Attributes to help uncover key measures of brand equity can include memorability, brand affinity, innovation, and reputation.

Thought-Leadership Research Drives Sales and Engagement

The B2B market is saturated, and research for content marketing is a versatile way to leverage research above competitors. As B2B clients are more rational and relationship-based, thought-leadership research is the perfect method to set your B2B brand apart from the rest. Thought-leadership builds brand credibility and leads to trackable ROI. The metrics are proven: content marketing generates 3X more leads than other types of marketing. Small businesses can see a 126% increase in lead growth when they use content marketing. Story-telling is inherent in human nature. By using research to craft engaging stories, B2B brands can connect the dots between functional branding and logically-minded clients.

The Cons of B2B Research

The B2B Landscape is Changing Due to the Pandemic

Though the B2B space moves slower than B2C, firms may need to revisit or re-commission research multiple times in order to adjust to the whiplash caused by the pandemic. Research can become outdated as quickly as one quarter. This is particularly true during these unprecedented pandemic times, where COVID-19 can cause severe inconsistencies within corporations and global supply chains. While research is agile, firms may need to commit to multiple waves in order to stay relevant. 

B2B Market Research is Costly & Limited

In general, B2B research is more costly because the audience is harder to reach. As this audience are professionals, the pool of respondents is smaller and they have less time to participate in studies. Furthermore, these professionals may worry about sharing trade secrets.

Conclusion

B2B firms have much to gain from business-to-business research. Whether your brand is a small firm or a multinational corporation, there are many factors to consider regarding market research. B2B marketing/advertising stakeholders should regularly discuss market research and keep in mind the key benefits & limitations.

Interested in reading more on market research? Check out our other blogs here. 
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Infographic: Hybrid Workers Are Exercising More and Are Therefore More Optimistic – Adweek
04 Jan 2022

Provoke Insights’ research on fitness and exercise trends is featured in Adweek’s first issue of 2022.

In September 2021, Provoke Insights launched a survey amongst 1,504 Americans. The study aimed to identify key trends in several spaces, including fitness and exercise, and break out said trends by several demographics. One such break is those who work in a hybrid setting.

The standout findings include:

  • 22% of Americans say they are working out more than they did before the pandemic
  • Those who are more optimistic tend to work out more
  • One-fifth of Americans believe that working out virtually (e.g., Zoom, Peloton) is as good as going to the gym

Overall, Americans are exercising more, especially those who work from home.